U.S. House bill bans Site C OLF
Wording to halt Navy now rests with Senate
By NIKIE MAYO
The U.S. House approved language Thursday that would bar the Navy from building an outlying landing field in Washington and Beaufort counties.
That language — 23 lines worth — is included in the House version of a defense bill that still has to be approved by the Senate and the president before it becomes law. Still, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., who worked to have the wording included in the bill, heralded its passage.
Meanwhile, the legal team that has challenged the Navy’s plans to put a landing field at “Site C” called on the Navy to “respond to this outpouring of opposition,” referring to the 397-27 vote.
The Navy proposes to put a landing field about four miles away from the refuge, which is home to wintering migratory waterfowl. The 34,000-acre site, which is on the border of two eastern North Carolina counties, encompasses about 30,000 acres in Washington County alone.
What happens next is up to the Senate. That body must create its own version of the defense bill, which will have to be reconciled with the House rendering if it is different.
Willis said Butterfield is still pursuing similar OLF-banning language for the appropriations bill that funds — or doesn’t fund — Department of Defense projects.
The federal fiscal year begins Oct. 1.